Anxiety and Exercise
Exercise is great for our mental health and there are plenty of ways we can continue to do this, even in isolation.
What type of activity might work for me?
Being physically active tends to be easier if you choose an activity that you enjoy, and that fits into your daily life. If you force yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, you’re much less likely to keep it going and experience benefits to your mental health.
There are lots of different things you can try – not everybody will enjoy or feel comfortable doing all of these activities, so you may need to try a few before you find something you like. You may also find that different things work for you at different times, depending on how you’re feeling.
If you think you might find it hard to get going with any of these things, check out this link and read on.
Activities at home
- Try to sit less – if you spend lots of time sitting down, try to get up and move around a bit every hour. If you’re worried you might forget, you could set an alarm to remind yourself.
- Chair-based exercises – if you have mobility problems, a physical condition, or find it difficult spending time out of a chair, the NHS has activity routines you can try while sitting down.
- Play an active computer game – there are a few different gaming consoles you could try which involve actively moving your body while playing computer games.
- Do exercises or stretches at home – the NHS has lots of different routines – click here to try them – or you could try an exercise CD or DVD.
- Do an online activity programme – there are lots of free, online exercise regimes designed for you to try at home, including everything from chair-based exercises to yoga and cardio workouts.
- Do active household chores – like hoovering, tidying or DIY.
- Include more activity in your day-to-day routine – run up the stairs instead of walking, carry your bags of shopping in one at a time or do some gentle stretching while you’re watching TV.
- Dance – put on some music while you’re cooking and dance around your kitchen, or have a mini dance party. There are also lots of online dance classes including some of which are free. Check out these ones for kids.
Activities out and about
Now that we are able to have unlimited time to exercise outside, why not take the opportunity to get out and do more?
- Walk a bit more – just go a little bit further, be it round the park or to the end of the road and back.
- Play a game in the park – if you have someone to play with there are lots of games you can play that keep you safe and 2m apart. Try frisbee, tennis or kicking a ball.
- Exercising on a budget – be it indoors or outdoors there are lots of ways to try new things out and exercise without it costing money. Click here to find our more.
- Outdoors gyms – some local parks have free outdoors gym equipment you can use. You can try your local council website to find the location of any outdoor gyms near you.
- Cycling – whether riding for short or long distances check out Sustrans for lots of ideas to get you started.
- Gardening or seated gardening – the Carry on Gardening website has information about gardening for emotional wellbeing and with particular disabilities.
- Be active in nature – our information on nature and mental health click here.
Motivation and extra support
- Music – putting music or a podcast on your headphones can help distract, entertain or motivate you while you exercise.
- Online communities – you could check in with other people are who also trying to get more active on an online community, such as Mind’s community Elefriends. This can help you stay motivated and connect with others in a similar situation.
- Apps and programmes – check out the NHS’s Strength and Flex and Couch to 5K programmes. They give you step-by-step programmes and help keep you motivated.
If you’d like to read more about the link between exercise and mental health, please visit https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/tl-tlp080718.php